Philip Reeves
RSA

  • Born : 1931
  • Died : 2017
  • Associate Elected : 07/03/1971
  • Academician Elected : 11/02/1976

BIOGRAPHY

  • Born : 1931
  • Died : 2017
  • Associate Elected : 07/03/1971
  • Academician Elected : 11/02/1976

Philip Reeves RSA was born in Cheltenham where he was schooled and attended Cheltenham Art School. After National Service, he spent time at the Royal College of Art where he took forward his studies in printmaking – particularly etching – moving away away from the traditional craft medium and pushing instead towards the large scale and abstract. He joined the staff at Glasgow School of Art in 194 as a tutor of etching. At this time printmaking sat firmly in the Design department – a situation which Philip lobbied for over more than a decade to change. Assisted greatly by the surge of contemporary printmaking which accompanied Pop Art and looking always outward from Scotland to new developments and trends, he was successful in moving printmaking out of GSA’s Design School into a Department of its own. In 1970 he was made Head of Printmaking at GSA.

Philip is considered to be the catalyst for the reinvention of printmaking in Scotland. Prior to his arrival at GSA, artists on the staff there, such as Ian Fleming RSA, were greatly revered and celebrated for their contribution to engraving and etching. However Philips’ vision of a contemporary printmaking platform for artists made ripples and indeed waves across the art community in Scotland. Ian Fleming was to view this and follow suit, bringing printmaking out of the design school at Gray’s in Aberdeen to its own platform in Fine Art…

With a studio at GSA and time to make his own work alongside teaching, he exhibited his exciting prints and collages widely. He showed with the Royal Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers -becoming an Associate there as early as 1954 and a Fellow in 1963. Exhibiting at the Society of Scottish Artists where he was elected a Member in 1965, the Royal Scottish Academy where he was elected Associate in 1971 and full Academician in 1976, and showing annually at the Royal Glasgow Institute. He forged strong long-term relationships with gallerists such a Cyril and Jill Gerber at Compass Gallery with whom he exhibited annually for half a century or more. His stature was reconfirmed by his Presidency of the Royal Society of Artists in Watercolour and Honorary Presidency at the Royal Glasgow Institute.

His influence is further reaching than just through his connection with students. In 1967, Philip was a Founder member of the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop. The first of the open-access printmaking studios in Scotland, the studio enabled artists access to printmaking equipment in a ‘manned’ studio. He was also a Founder member, in 1972, of the Glasgow Print Studio and continued to make prints and exhibit there for the rest of his career. The flourishing of these print studios gave rise to artists across Scotland engaging with print and further open-access facilities were established in Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Dunfermline and Orkney.

His work is in some of the most important collections including municipal collections in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow Edinburgh, Inverness, Paisley and East and West Dunbartonshire. He has work in the Government Collection, Edinburgh University Collection and the Royal Scottish Academy Collections to name but a few.

View works available for purchase by Philip Reeves here